The U.S. HOUSE is set to vote on a historic bill and if it passes then it would put an end to the federal prohibition of cannabis, putting the nail into the coffin of the failed “war on drugs.”
If the legislation passes it would then head to the Senate for a final vote to comprehensively put an end to the federal prohibition of cannabis allowing taxation of the plant, ABC News reported.
The vote will take place during the week of September 21, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). This will be the first time in the chamber’s history voting on federally legalizing cannabis.
In November, the House Judiciary passed House Resolution – 3884—the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act or MORE Act – in another important bipartisan vote. But since that decision passed, the law has been waiting on further action to be voted upon by the U.S House of Representatives to then be passed down to the Senate.
The MORE Act, introduced by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would remove cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act, where it is currently scheduled as a Class 1 controlled substance. The bill would also expunge some marijuana-related criminal records, though it would still be ultimately up to states themselves to pass their own regulations on the sale of marijuana.
“It’s about time,” Nadler told USA TODAY, calling the forthcoming decision a “historic vote” marking the beginning of the end of the federal government’s “40-year, very misguided crusade” against marijuana.
Beyond that, banks would have the ability to offer credit cards and checking accounts to legal cannabis businesses, and the study of any potential medicinal benefits of the plant would be easier to undertake.
The act also authorizes a provision of resources, through a 5% federal retail sales tax on cannabis products, toward addressing the needs of communities who have suffered serious negative impacts from prohibition enforcement, especially those communities of persons’ of color that have suffered disproportionate over-policing and mass incarceration, TaxFoundation.org reported.
“Federal legalization would have a massive impact on the marijuana markets in the states that currently allow sales and consumption—particularly on prices. Because legalization opens the way for interstate trade, it could revolutionize the business as brands become available nationwide and companies apply economies of scale. Currently, products must be grown, processed, sold, and consumed within state borders due to federal prohibition.”
The announcement by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., was welcomed by advocates for the legalization of cannabis.
“After many months of hard work and collaboration, we finally have a chance to end the failed policy of prohibition that has resulted in a long and shameful period of selective enforcement against people of color, especially Black men,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.
“As people across the country protest racial injustices, there’s even greater urgency for Congress to seize this historic opportunity and finally align our cannabis laws with what the majority of Americans support, while ensuring restorative justice,” Rep. Blumenauer added.
An ACLU report analyzing marijuana-related arrests from 2010 to 2018 found that Black people were 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession.
The MORE Act was initially opposed by Republicans, including many who supported a separate bipartisan cannabis reform bill called the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act.
However, the MORE Act goes much further than the STATES Act, which lacked the social equity elements and formal removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.
“It’s the first-ever comprehensive marijuana legalization bill to ever be considered for a full House floor vote,” said Queen Adesuyi, national affairs policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.
The removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I narcotic would mean that the plant would no longer be defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” shared with the same classification as LSD and heroin.
While five Senate Republicans have co-sponsored the STATES Act, while only one, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is the sole GOP cosponsor on the bill. Gaetz said in a podcast released on Tuesday that while he supports the proposal in principle a measure in the legislation that would distribute a portion of cannabis tax revenue to communities most impacted by the war on drugs, will be seen as “reparations” by the GOP controlled Senate.
Gaetz applauded the main stipulations of the bill, specifically removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and ending federal prohibition. He also said he’s in support of a proposal to provide expungements for prior cannabis convictions, recognizing racial disparities in marijuana-related arrests.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was an original co-sponsor of the More Act and has put forward his own Marijuana Justice Act.
“This war on pot has not been a war on pot,” Booker said last year. “It has been a war on Black people and brown people and low-income people. This is not about the legalization of marijuana. That’s too simplistic. This is about restorative justice. It’s about equal justice under the law.”
According to a 2019 Gallup survey, 66% of Americans supported legalization, though support did differ by party. More than three-quarters of Democrats said they supported legalization, as opposed to about half of Republicans.
This isn’t the first time that a bill on marijuana was voted upon by the House, last year, a bill passed the House, only to be denied in the GOP controlled Senate. That bill also imposed a 5% tax on cannabis products that would provide job training and legal assistance to those hit hardest by the war on drugs.
Pennsylvania’s governor criticized the Republican-led legislature for failing to move on the proposal put forward last year.
“There’s nothing going on,” Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said at a press conference. “That’s why we’re having this press conference. We’re saying, ‘Remember a year ago?’”
— Office of the Governor (@GovernorsOffice) September 3, 2020
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and 33 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have legalized medical marijuana, but marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. If the recent bill passes legalizing marijuana on the federal level in the House, and it passes the Senate, that would be a big nail hammered into the coffin of the “war on drugs.”
Nancy Pelosi Reelected As House Speaker In Narrow Vote
Nancy Pelosi won another term as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Sunday, after a narrow vote.
80-year-old Pelosi will hold the position for a second consecutive two-year term and fourth overall, having previously been elected in 2007, 2009 and 2019.
Pelosi has served as a US representative from California since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the only woman in U.S. history to serve as Speaker and, until the inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President, is the highest-ranking female elected official in United States history.
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) January 3, 2021
As House speaker, Pelosi is second in the presidential line of succession, after the vice president.
During her first speakership, she was instrumental in the passage of many of the Obama administration’s landmark bills, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the 2010 Tax Relief Act.
BREAKING: The floor of the House of Representatives erupts in applause as Rep. Nancy Pelosi is reelected as speaker of the House for the 117th congress, with 216 votes. https://t.co/z1mlyK1BJN pic.twitter.com/6Wdt3N9ulD
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 3, 2021
Pelosi lost the speakership in 2011 after the Republican Party won a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.
She retained her role as leader of the House Democratic Caucus and returned to the role of House minority leader. In the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats regained control of the House.
When the 116th Congress convened on January 3, 2019, Pelosi was again elected speaker, becoming the first former speaker to return to the post since Sam Rayburn in 1955.
Under Pelosi’s leadership, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on December 18, 2019.
Despite supporting the $2000 checks for struggling Americans, Pelosi, along with everyone in congress have provoked anger from citizens who see them as being out of touch with the average people.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) estimated in 2009 that Pelosi’s average net worth was $58 million which ranks her 13th among 25 wealthiest members of Congress.
Roll Call said Pelosi’s earnings are connected to her husband’s heavy investments in stocks that include Apple, Disney, Comcast, and Facebook. Roll Call reported that the Pelosis have $13.46 million in liabilities including mortgages on seven properties.
According to Roll Call, Pelosi and her husband hold properties “worth at least $14.65 million, including a St. Helena vineyard in Napa Valley worth at least $5 million, and commercial real estate in San Francisco”.
FAA Responds To Numerous Reports Of A UFO Over Hawaii
The FAA was notified after multiple people reported seeing an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in the sky over Leeward Oahu on Tuesday evening. Witnesses all over the region called into 911 at around 8:30 p.m.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said that there were no aircraft incidents or accidents in this area at the time of the reports, but multiple witnesses reported seeing a large blue object fall out of the sky and into the ocean.
Some of the witnesses managed to get video or photos of the incident.
Witness Misitina Sape told Hawaii News Now she captured a photo of the object at 8:26 p.m. near Haleakala Avenue in Nanakuli.
Another witness named Moriah said she had never been a believer in UFOs until she saw the object fall from the sky.
“I started calling my husband and them because they were all in the garage. I was like hey. Come look up there. See if you see what I see. They all said yea!” Moriah said.
They jumped in the car to follow the object and see what it was.
“I don’t know what it was,” she said. “This one was going so fast.”
About three miles down the road, they saw the object fall into the water.
She said that it was larger than a telephone pole but didn’t make any sound when it hit the ground.
“We called 911,” Moriah said, “For have like one cop or somebody for come out and come check em out.”
She also says that they saw another light in the sky after the blue object fell into the water. She says that police saw the second light as well.
“My husband went look up and he seen the white one coming,” she said. “The white one was smaller. Was coming in the same direction as the blue one.”
FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor said the agency received a report from police Tuesday night about a possible plane down in the area “but had no aircraft disappear off radars. And no reports of overdue or missing aircraft.”
Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced the formation of a new task force that will be studying UFOs or “Unidentified Flying Objects.”
The formation of this new task force was revealed last year when the Pentagon acknowledged that military pilots were encountering aircraft that might not have been made by humans.
The new task force was officially revealed to the public after the Pentagon released declassified videos that appeared to show government aircraft interacting with UFOs in the sky.
One of the videos, taken from US Navy aircraft, seems to show the pilots chasing a UFO off the east coast of the United States.
Navy pilots reported spotting the objects flying around 30,000 feet in the air at hypersonic speeds and showing no visible engines or exhaust plumes typical of any known aircraft currently on Earth.
The new agency has been called, The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF).
Mitch McConnell’s House Vandalized Over $2,000 Checks
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had his home vandalized this week, after blocking the vote to increase stimulus payments to $2,000.
Messages like ‘WERES MY MONEY’ and ‘MITCH K1LLS THE POOR.’ were spray-painted on the building.
Police said that they don’t have any suspects.
On Saturday, McConnell released a statement to the Louisville Courier Journal which read: “Vandalism and the politics of fear have no place in our society. My wife and I have never been intimidated by this toxic playbook. We just hope our neighbors in Louisville aren’t too inconvenienced by this radical tantrum.”
In 2015, Time listed McConnell as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. McConnell is the longest-serving U.S. senator for Kentucky in history, and the longest-serving leader of U.S. Senate Republicans in history.
During the Trump administration, Senate Republicans, under McConnell’s leadership, broke records on the number of judicial nominees confirmed. Among those nominees were Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh who were recently confirmed to the Supreme Court.
McConnell’s critics have called him by a variety of different nicknames, including “Moscow Mitch”, “Cocaine Mitch”, the “Grim Reaper”, “Darth Vader”, “Rich Mitch”, “Nuclear Mitch”, and “Midnight Mitch.” On some occasions, he has even embraced these nicknames, although he was apparently unhappy with the more recent “Moscow Mitch.”
McConnell has a net worth of $35 million dollars, and many Americans feel that he is out of touch. He isn’t the only US politician that was a target for vandalism this week.
According to a report from TMZ this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had her house vandalized with a pig’s head and fake blood.
Spray painted in black on the white garage door were the messages “$2K,” an apparent reference to the $2,000 COVID stimulus checks that have been held up in the U.S. Senate, as well as “CANCEL RENT!” and “WE WANT EVERYTHING!”
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